Zines (pronounced “zeen”) are small, handmade (or digital) booklets. Self-published and small circulation, they are made for passion, not profit. Zines represent “outsider” cultures, coming originally out of the science fiction community in the 1930s as “fanzines.” Zines cultivate community. They fostered sf’s first “World Con” in 1939, which led directly to now dominate “pop culture” events like WonderCon and ComicCon. They played a key role in outsider music, from the invention in the 1960s of rock criticism, which proceeded to punk, hip hop, and riot grrl movements. They have long represented the Queer community and even played a vital role in the AIDS crisis, bringing a voice to the voiceless. They have played a role in identity building for the Chicano, Asian-American, and many other marginalized communities.
The internet was supposed to kill zines, but they simply migrated online as digital zines and colonized the internet. Zines are having something of a cultural moment, with numerous zinefests taking place around SoCal and celebrity “zines” released. They have small circulations but they have had an outsized effect on Southern California culture.
Come join us in exploring the history and present of zines, and in making your own Zine to the Future!